Ooh, Interesting! - Painting the Town Blue

January 22, 2016

We love using some of the UK’s finest makeup artists at our events. They add to the glitz and glamour of the affair and make our acts shimmer and shine like never before! When combined with a great costume, there’s nothing better than seeing people transformed before your eyes. But what about if we were working on a completely different scale? What if we were Sony looking to promote The Smurfs movie at cinemas and were looking for something to really stand out? Well, then we can’t think of anything better than what they actually did…

Yup, as the title suggests, Sony went above and beyond (both in terms of visuals and budget) when looking to create a real event for their premiere of their movie. Strictly speaking, as any human will tell you, the Smurfs are fictional. It’s an unfortunate fact but it is completely true. As such, along with no Papa Smurf or Smurfette, there’s no Smurf Village either. So Sony simply created one.

With a marketing budget to rival the film’s $110million production budget, the company looked all across the world to find an area suitable to be turned into Smurf Village. For that matter, it wasn’t just a case of finding an area suitable but also finding a collection of houses that were actually willing to take on the design, because it wasn’t just the name Sony wanted but the aesthetic too. The Smurfs are blue so it makes perfect sense that every single house would have to be blue as well, right?

Cast your mind back to 2011 and you may remember that the world was only sort of recovering from the 2008 economic crisis. In fact, 2011 was a year where many mentioned the much feared ‘double dip’ and history does show that most of the world was in a recession that year. One such country that was struggling – and still is – was Spain, so it wasn’t really too much of a surprise when the small town of Juzcar was selected to be turned blue and was chosen to host the film’s premiere. Wonderful!

Err… In practice that means that literally everything had to be turned blue. A few weeks before the premiere, Sony dispatched a dozen handymen and 4000 litres of blue paint to colour every single piece of rock. All the houses, the historic church and incredibly even the gravestones were painted blue, all in the name of marketing. The June 16th premiere duly arrived and the event was a success.

But what next?

Well, Sony offered the citizens the chance to have their village turned back the way it was before the arrival of The Smurfs, paying full costs. But six months after the world’s press had descended on the town, the inhabitants voted for it to stay the way it was by a vote of 141 to 33. A landslide! The reason being that with money thin on the ground all across Spain, the world’s only Smurf town was actually quite the draw for tourists with 80,000 turning up to Juzcar in those first 180 days.

And what about now? Well there are still Smurf-themed festivals and even Smurf-themed weddings! As of 2013, the blue Smurf Village had amassed 210,000 tourists, which was more than enough to justify the change. After all, before the blue arrived, only 300 tourists would pop in throughout an entire year. Not bad at all!



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By Henry Fosdike